How to Survive a Plague
This book tells the story of the uphill battle to halt the AIDS epidemic, driven by advocacy among grassroots activists. The epidemic was almost universally ignored by politicians and the mainstream media, but many, including the characters dramatized in the cast of POSE get involved in ACT UP, including the “Stop the Church” protest at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
This collection of stories speaks to the ongoing tradition of the ballroom scene—a chosen family—and the necessity to reinterpret “home,” as one finds their places in the world. Similarly to the performances on the show, Washington’s prose is dripping with humanity, familiarity, and nuance.
This book includes “essays, conversations, and dossiers” that explore themes of representation, activism, beauty, identity, and visibility among the trans community from a range of contributors. One of the most beautiful things about POSE is hearing the stories of the characters, and this book chronicles the real life trailblazers, newsmakers, and groundbreakers.
Here for It
R. Eric Thomas
Few people know the intersection between personal and political as well as R. Eric Thomas, Senior Staff Writer for Elle.com. The ability to find wit and whimsy in parallel with self-reflection and humility bring this read to life.
Modern day drag owes everything it has to the ballroom kids of the 80s and 90s featured in POSE. This book explores the queer history of the modern-day phenomenon, and helps illustrate just how relevant POSE is to today’s queer culture.
If you watch POSE, you love POSE. And if you’re not watching, you’re missing out. This show tells the story of Harlem’s ballroom scene—filled with unforgettable characters, out-of-this-world fashion, heartwarming tales of finding your own family, heartbreaking stories of discrimination and death, but above all, it’s a tale of humanity. The stories from the ballroom scene, most notably featured in the 1990 documentary, Paris is Burning, are largely untold, aside from those who were there. It’s an insider’s oral history of legendary queens, iconic dance, and a tight-knit community of queer, trans BIPOC who define value on their own terms in a society that cast them away. What’s not to love?
And this year, as Emmy season approaches, the show celebrates some major accomplishments, including well-deserved accolades for Billy Porter. However, the entirety of the cast of trans women was snubbed. Sometimes, life imitates art.
If you love the show, you’ll appreciate these books.
Featured Image: Michael Parmelee/FX